- - Monday, October 31, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“Vote early and often,” the old joke goes. Though the latest voter-fraud news out of Colorado is no laughing matter. According to CBS4 in Denver: “An ongoing CBS4 voter fraud investigation has uncovered a dozen cases where Coloradans are suspected of voting twice. Previous CBS4 investigations revealed ballots cast in the names of Coloradans who had been dead for months — sometimes years — before votes were cast in their names.”

In Missouri, meanwhile, prosecutors are investigating allegations that Mayor Ted Hoskins of Berkeley, Mo., and his supporters interfered with the absentee ballot process, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Specifically, they’re accused of insisting that the ballots they collected be unsealed (contrary to the law) so they could tamper with them later.

“Hoskins was on the April 5 ballot, running for re-election against two other candidates,” the Post-Dispatch notes. “He ended up winning by 13 votes out of nearly 1,200 cast. On Election Day, an FBI agent and a St. Louis County Police detective watched election workers open the envelopes from voters in a few precincts . A small number of ballots appeared to have been altered or had questionable markings.”

Well, a skeptical reader may say, those are just two cases, and they’re open investigations. Perhaps the accused parties will be exonerated.

True. But I could cite many other cases of voter fraud — and ones in which convictions have occurred. Consider these cases from a growing database maintained by the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies:

• Arkansas: Larry Gray was charged with illegally casting more than 25 absentee ballots in other people’s names during the 2002 primary, but the sum total of his election fraud may have been much higher. The former sanitation director for the city applied for hundreds of ballots, successfully submitting 98 in the Democratic primary. After pleading guilty, Gray received two years’ probation.

• California: Officials in the town of Cudahy accepted cash bribes and threw out absentee ballots that favored election challengers. Angel Perales, former head of code enforcement, admitted to tampering with mail-in ballots in city elections by resealing and submitting votes for incumbent candidates and discarding votes for challengers. He and Mayor David Silva pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges.

• Florida: Deisy Cabrera pleaded guilty to charges of being an absentee ballot broker (boletera) as part of a massive absentee voter fraud scheme. Her notebook contained the names and addresses of more than 500 voters who were mostly elderly Hispanics in Hialeah. She was sentenced to one year of probation.

I could go on, listing cases from state after state. Yet despite the preponderance of evidence from across the country, many in the media ignore it. Worse, they actively dismiss it in some cases.

Case in point: “The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth,” a Sept. 19 New York Times editorial that staunchly maintained that allegations of voter fraud are a partisan trick to suppress votes and delegitimize the results. Actual voter fraud, the Times insists, is very rare, an all but nonexistent bogey man whipped up purely for political gain.

Tell that to Russel Withers, who owned multiple radio and TV stations in Illinois. He pleaded guilty to voting multiple times in 1998 and 2000 elections in both Colorado and Illinois. He was fined $10,000.

Or to Michael Marshall, a Jennings County Democratic Party worker in Indiana who pled guilty to three counts of vote fraud relating to applications for absentee ballots for his son, brother and former roommate. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Or to Michael Stephens of Minnesota, who pleaded guilty to registering ineligible voters and was sentenced to one year of confinement.

Voter fraud, a myth? Only if you ignore clear and mounting evidence to the contrary.

It’s time to take this issue seriously. Looking the other way is no longer on the ballot.

Ed Feulner is the founder of the Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).

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